+U treats college search as an investment

+U
Searching for a college is getting the double-click treatment with +U. Credit: Provided

It’s a complicated (not to mention expensive) world out there for students searching for the right college. As technology revolutionizes everything from textbooks to professorships, a new website that’s just out of beta testing is looking to help students’ college dollars stretch a little bit further.

With +U, students and their parents calculate their ROE — return on education — to make sure that the price tag of an acceptance letter will ultimately be worth it in the long run. The site uses data from student surveys, numbers from the Department of Education and salary information to point would-be college attendees in the right direction. By taking into account how much a student may make after college, along with geography and a school’s culture, the site is a (free) way to find some direction in a process that can be steeped in anxiety.

As the parent of a high school sophomore, Tom O’Keefe wants to think ahead about his daughter Reagan’s college opportunities. “I think it’s pretty overwhelming, today. Probably the first thing you feel is a little bit of fear, because of the expense,” he says of the search for a college education that won’t lead to mountains of debt for his daughter. Her interest in science and math led the pair to consider nursing schools for Reagan,who says she was able to discover colleges that she hadn’t even known about. She also enjoyed thinking about the years ahead of her. “I like envisioning myself in college,” she says, “It’s an exciting part of your life” — especially for a promising student like Reagan, who is quick to remind her dad that she speaks three languages, not two.

The biggest draw for parents looking for more than a cash-strapped future for their aspiring graduates is the site’s focus on the dollar signs and debt calculations. Brad McMahon, +U senior vice president for business and product development, says the site will get more savvy as more students try it out: “As we get more data and specifically can tie [in] where students go to school, graduate, etc., our matching models and algorithm improve over time.”

Searching for a college can be the first step in a scary price tag; calculating the return on education could be the first step in making sure it’s worth it.

 

Make it rain

+U is offering a $10,000 college scholarship to a high school student who can tell them exactly how a college degree will change their life. For more information and to enter, head to +U.


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